Whether you use one or not, personal assistant apps are becoming part of many people’s everyday lives. Using just your voice, personal assistants allow you to carry out small everyday tasks. They can also provide you with key information right when you need it.
Personal assistants are often called voice or digital assistants. They’re all about giving you information at a glance. Even though many find it weird to speak to their phone in public, it’s not as weird as it used to be. Personal assistants are for making your life easier. People live busy lifestyles, and these apps help you jot quick things down or provide information to help you get through your day. For example, jotting down a quick note, sending off a message, checking traffic updates, or simply looking at the weather. Some personal assistants even speak back to you so that there’s no need to even read the given information on-screen.
There are tens if not hundreds of existing personal assistant apps available today. Some in which are very good, and some in which are not as good. You may be wondering exactly what makes one assistant superior to another? Today you’re going to find out. Here’s what we believe are five of the best personal assistants available on Android.
Our first suggestion when it comes to personal assistants has to be Google Now. The great thing about Google Now is that it comes pre-loaded on all Android handsets is simple to set up. It’s also made by Google itself, meaning that web searching is a breeze. All you need to set up is a Google account, which you probably have if you have an Android handset. If you’re activating Google Now for the first time, you can start by taping the Google Search icon in your app drawer. On some devices you’ll be able to activate Google Now by simply swiping up on the home button when on your homescreen. Once you sign in and authorize a few permissions, you’ll be all set to go.
Unlike nearly all personal assistants, Google Now keeps a dashboard containing information like the weather, upcoming reminders, calendar events, stocks, and birthdays. These are constantly updated so you’ll never miss a thing. Users can also add interests so that Google can provide news stories to your Now feed that are relevant to your likings. On top of this, if allowed to do so, Google Now can suggest events to make using incoming emails. Google Now can open from any screen when the user uses the hotword “Ok Google.” This includes even the lockscreen. All can be customized in the settings.
Google Now can be activated by a tap of the mic or by saying the hotword aloud. What we love most about Google Now is its speed and high accuracy, which recognizes your voice even when background noise is present. Google Now can carry out functions like searching the web, searching your device, and enabling/disabling settings. Some example actions can be seen by tapping the mic and then hitting the drop down arrow. Google Now works over a plethora of devices including smartphones, tablets, wearables, and TV’s.
Cortana is made by Microsoft and is the primary personal assistant pre-loaded on new Windows devices. However, the personal assistant is also available for those on Android, and it’s one of our favorites. While Cortana doesn’t offer all the functionality of Google Now, it can perform lots of handy tasks right when you need. Cortana is very useful to have and can provide you what you need quickly and easily, even when your hands aren’t free.
Cortana can carry out actions like sending messages, making calls, setting appointments, and providing directions. Even though most personal assistants can do this, Cortana does is fast and rarely mis-understands you. Its driving mode can help you get around without missing a beat using its hands-free setting. But when it comes to web searching, it just can’t compare to the seamless experience one gets with Google Now.
While the experience isn’t as intuitive and seamless as that on Windows devices, Cortana for Android is still no slouch. If you like it that much better than competitors, Cortana can be set to your system default. This can be enabled in your settings. More on Cortana for Android can be read from our review.
Hound is the newest of the pack and is made by SoundHound. It like others can be asked all sorts of questions. For example, Hound can find nearby hotels, restaurants, and landmarks. It can also help you complete tasks like setting reminders and sending out texts. When asking for information, Hound is extremely fast to respond and supplies relevant answers most of time. It can be activated by saying “Ok Hound” aloud.
Unlike Google Now, Cortana, and other personal assistants, Hound can answer follow-up questions. This is what makes it so great. For example, if you ask “show me restaurants in Seattle excluding Chinese,” you can then follow-up with a question like “only show ones that are open past 9PM.” Hound will automatically cycle back and realize that you’re talking about restaurants in Seattle excluding Chinese so that you don’t have to repeat yourself. You’ll find this feature working over a wide range of subjects.
Hound can also go more in-depth with topics. For example, instead of just asking “find me nearby hotels,” you can say “show me nearby hotels between $150 and $200 per night with free Wi-Fi and a swimming pool.” Hound will process your request and show only the hotels that fit your criteria. Hound also offers a slew of games you can play using just your voice, which I found to be a good time waster. Hound Voice Search & Assistant is free to download at the link below.
Dragon Mobile Assistant is a great choice for an all-in-one personal assistant. The app is made by Nuance Communications and is free to download. Some popular features include sending text messages, posting across social media platforms, searching the web, and setting alarms. One feature that’s great about the Dragon Mobile Assistant app is that it works even when your handset’s screen is locked and powered off. You can also set your voice tone so that Dragon Mobile Assistant will respond only to your voice and none other.
Dragon Mobile Assistant also lets you create a customized name to call when you want to reach out to it. The personal assistant also offers a selection of different voices you can apply, which is unique when compared to the others on this list. The design is clean, easy to use, and runs well, which is everything you need.
If you like options, Dragon Mobile Assistant may be the perfect assistant for you. We recommend giving it a try.
Jarvis is made by ItsMyLab and is free to download. Jarvis is one among very few other than Google Now that works on Android Wear devices. It’s also worth noting that Jarvis comes with a selection of widgets that can be placed on your homescreen for quick and easy access.
Jarvis can inform you on breaking news and complete actions like sending messages and making calls. Jarvis can also modify your device settings, change your current wallpaper, and give you timely updates on important matter via heads-up notifications. The design is inspired by Iron Man and looks very appealing. Jarvis can entertain you as well with its hidden Easter eggs embedded throughout the interface. The personal assistant is always aware of where you are, and what time it is, and can adjust to fit your tastes as you spend more time with it. The only downside of Jarvis is its lack of support for multiple languages. It currently supports English only.
That sums up what we believe are the top five personal assistant apps available today for Android. Personal assistants aren’t perfect in every which way, but they’re improving with time. Not every smartphone user uses one on a daily basis, and that’s why we feel that the best times could be ahead of us. There’s a lot of potential for personal assistants and it’ll be interesting to see where we go from here on out.
A lot more can be learned about each app mentioned on this list with a click or tap of their respective download links. Be sure to let us know which of the above you’re using and what your favorite personal assistant is in the comments down below. We’d love to hear from you!